YOUR WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF OCCUPY MOVEMENT NEWS
This week in Occupy, the Cruz home at 4044 Cedar Avenue in South Minneapolis became a national flashpoint for the Movement, overthrown Egyptian former dictator Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison, Canadian solidarity had everyone wearing red, the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall sparked a frenzy among politicians and activists alike, and an Occupy Yale activist left us far too soon.
#Occupy Homes MN protestors are condemning Minneapolis police and Mayor R.T. Rybak after 14 were arrested defending the home of Alejandra Cruz and her family from foreclosure. 100 protestors gathered to link arms around the home – which has been blockaded from eviction by occupiers for the past month – and successfully fought off raids three times in two days, forcing sheriffs and police to retreat. The Minneapolis police chief doesn’t even want to foreclose anymore. Freddie Mac, the current holder of the Cruz family’s mortgage, hired round-the-clock private security, who called the police to enforce the May 31 raid. PNC Bank, which originally held the Cruz loan, has repeatedly assured the family that they are working to resolve the issue.
#Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian former dictator and casualty of the Arab Spring, was sentenced to life in prison. For thousands of Egyptians, the overthrown autocrat’s sentence was too lenient: protesters in particular want Mubarak to pay with his life for his brutal regime.
#On May 29, Occupy Chicago rallied against the police brutality employed during the NATO protests and demanded compensation for ”lost income, lost stability and treatment costs from trauma [police] inflicted upon [protesters].” While the mainstream media has praised Chicago PD for the supposed restraint officers demonstrated, it is clear they simply trained their cameras away from police violence.
#Marina Keegan, an Occupy activist and recent Yale graduate, died in a car accident on May 26. Around campus and in the pages of the New York Times she took on Wall Street campus recruiting practices as part of an action known as Occupy Morgan Stanley. “I’m just not convinced that the most productive use of 25 percent of my graduating class’s time is to spend two or three years pushing figures around spreadsheets to make more money for those with the most money,” she wrote in November.
#The #WIrecall of Governor Scott Walker, who is just the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall, will be decided on June 5. Occupy Appleton held a Solidarity Sing Along to get out the vote. Walker holds a narrow lead over Democratic opponent Tom Barrett, but Democrats are confident they’ll win the state senate. The drive to oust the despised governor was spurred by anger over his plan to effectively end most public workers’ collective bargaining rights, and the wave of activism that followed paved the way for Occupy Wall Street. Here’s some historical context courtesy of Daily Kos.
#On May 30, Occupy Wall Street marched for affordable education and against police repression in solidarity with the massive, ongoing student uprising in Quebec. Just as demonstrators have done in Argentina, Chile, Spain and throughout Canada, OWS banged pots and pans in a practice called casseroles or cacerolazo. In a similar gesture of solidarity, the Movement has also thrown its support behind the uprising in Mexico.
#Occupy Buffalo helped convince the city council to divest from JP Morgan after its $2 billion trading loss. The city comptroller agreed to transfer $45 million of sewer authority funds from a JPMorgan Chase account to local bank First Niagara Financial Group after Occupy raised concerns.
#Los Angeles’s Arts, Parks, Health, and Aging Committee has proposed a ban on all forms of overnight camping and pitching tents in city parks. The City Council will vote on the measure next week. City officials say the measure is not meant to target Occupy LA, which they claim cost $2.3 million in cleanup costs last Fall.
#Occupy Cal protesters have amended their lawsuit against U.C. Berkeley to demand $15 million following a November protest where police officers confronted occupiers following the removal of tents. They are demanding $7.5 million in compensatory damages for physical and emotional harm and denial of Constitutional rights, $7.5 million in punitive damages, and insistence that the school redress the protesters for “false arrests and UCB’s political witch hunt” against them.
#In an attempt to avoid possible mass arrests, Occupy Tampa announced it will not be protesting in the official protest zone during the Republican National Convention on August 27. ”It wouldn’t do any good for all of us to get thrown in jail,” said Christopher Kuleci, a member of Occupy Tampa’s media team. “There are plenty of other places where delegates are going to be, where our messages will better be heard.”
#A push to raise the minimum wage amid a political stalemate brought Occupy Albany to the Capitol on May 29, where protesters delivered letters urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to persuade his allies to take up a bill passed by the Assembly that would bump the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour, from the current rate of $7.25. “A living wage is possible, this movement is unstoppable! It’s shameful and outrageous!” demonstrators chanted from the Capitol’s ornate Million Dollar Staircase. Six were charged with misdemeanor trespassing.
#Members of the Occupy Movement joined an international coalition of union members, community leaders, disenchanted shareholders and residents of countries Chevron has polluted to protest the oil giant during its annual shareholder meeting in San Ramon, California, on May 30. 73% of shareholders in attendance at the meeting rejected a move to disclose more about fracking methods. Chevron is facing $43 billion in fines stemming from contamination, explosions and tax-dodging in multiple countries.
#More than two dozen high school and community college students #occupied the UCLA admissions office on June 1, demanding the university double the enrollment of black, Latino and American Indian students because the current student body does not demographically resemble Los Angeles. Thirteen were arrested.
#Marking a recent resurgence, Occupy Tulsa took to the streets on May 31 in support of local Oklahoma schools facing major budget cuts.
#After more than eight months of march and parks permit requests, a national petition campaign and threats of legal action, the city of Charlotte granted conditional approval for permits for a march on Wall Street South on September 2, one day prior to the Democratic National Convention.
#On May 24, after a four-month public campaign to bring attention to injustices in the workplace, employees at a Manhattan Hot and Crusty restaurant voted to certify an independent union, the Hot and Crusty Workers Association.
#Occupy protesters and Tea Party activists alike protested this year’s secretive Bilderberg Conference in Chantilly, Virginia. Activists from across the political spectrum are arguing that U.S. citizens attending the controversial confab are potentially committing a felony by violating the Logan Act, which forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. Here’s a list of the annual conference’s high-powered attendees.
#Fight for Philly activists chanting “We Are the 99%!” crashed Comcast’s annual shareholders meeting on May 31 in protest of its tax-dodging strategies and in an effort to persuade the cable giant to suspend its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Comcast, the nation’s largest cable distributor, controls MSNBC through NBCUniversal, which it owns in a joint venture with General Electric.
#In the latest rebuke for Oakland’s violent police, a federal judge has ordered a probe into how Oakland PD investigates officer-involved shootings, threatening the department with sanctions if misconduct is uncovered.
#Florida governor Rick Scott continues his massive statewide voter purge, stripping suspected non-citizens from the rolls in defiance of a Justice Department order, and despite objections from county elections officials and evidence that a disproportionate number are voters of color. In fact, Scott has ordered more “ineligible” voters to continue to be purged. The state’s plan to review the status of the 2,600 suspected non-citizens and purge them if the voters fail to prove citizenship appears to violate the 1964 Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act, the DOJ said.
#Occupiers like Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis inhabit roles in society that d0n’t naturally lend themselves to activism. But since the ascendance of Occupy, siding with the people they vowed to serve and protect is indeed a radical notion in many police departments. They don’t call it The Thin Blue Line for nothing.
#Occupy activists offer lessons learned from their victorious labor campaign against Sotheby’s auction house in New York on behalf of art handlers with Teamsters Local 814, who won a new three-year contract on May 31.
#George Martinez – adjunct politics professor at Pace University, hip-hop artist, cultural ambassador for the State Department and the first Occupy Wall Street activist to secure a place on a Congressional ballot – will challenge Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) in the June 26 Democratic primary.
#Though under house arrest and about to be extradited to Sweden, Julian Assange is still producing his show for RT, “The World Tomorrow,” the most recent episode of which he dedicated to the Occupy Movement. Shot in the old Deutsche Bank building in London, which is now controlled by friends of Occupy, Julian enlists Marisa Holmes, Alexa O’Brien and David Graeber from Occupy Wall Street and Aaron Peters and Naomi Colvin from Occupy London to parse the future of Occupy.
#Launched on June 2, Occupy Kensington in Brooklyn plans to tackle such issues as raising the minimum wage, securing back wages for employees of a local grocery and the area’s lack of open space.
#The Riverdale Mobile Homes Park in rural Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, has become an unlikely nexus of resistance to corporate power after residents were booted to make way for a pump station that will divert up to three million gallons of water per day from the Susquehanna River to fracking operations in the north.
#A hunger strike at Red Onion, Virginia’s only supermax prison, has ended. Four dozen prisoners began the strike on May 29, demanding an end to poor conditions, ongoing abuse and the practice of solitary confinement.
#Wal-Mart has suspended its membership in ALEC, which the retailer joined in 1993. It joins Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who all ended their association with the conservative lobbying group after the Trayvon Martin murder exposed its role in crafting Stand Your Ground legislation.
#One out of every five people stopped by the NYPD last year were between the ages of 14 and 18 and 86 percent of them were black or Latino, confirming that stop-and-frisk policies target young people of color. Stop-and-frisk arrests in 2011 topped 120,000.
#Has the FBI classified Occupy Wall Street as a domestic terror organization?
#Greece’s Coalition of the Radical Left has no desire to bring back the drachma, but also does not believe that staying in the euro requires the massive cuts in government spending to which Greece’s leaders have agreed as a condition of receiving international assistance over the last two years.
#Grassroots resistance to Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial rule is reaching a crescendo in Russia.
#Though he vehemently denies it, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad continues to slaughter his own people, blaming unnamed “terrorists and extremists” for the bloodshed. Defending his regime’s crackdown against the opposition, al-Assad likened it to a surgeon performing an operation: “When a surgeon in an operating room cuts and cleans and amputates, and the wound bleeds, do we say to him, ‘Your hands are stained with blood?’ Or do we thank him for saving the patient?” Countries around the world expelled Syrian diplomats after a massacre in Houla killed 90 men, women and children in their homes.
#Many of our nation’s largest and most respected universities are screwing their own students (further) by outsourcing basic financial operations to private banks. Student loan debt, which recently topped $1 trillion, is crippling the nation’s young adults in their prime.
#Occupy does not care if you think Occupy is dead. Here’s why.
#After NYPD testimony was disproved at two OWS arrest trials, police officers have been no-shows when they’re called to testify. Why? “Mass arrests were being used as a tactic, as a weapon to stop the expressive activity and to chill people from participating,” explained Norman Siegel, an Occupy attorney and former head of the NYCLU. “Even if the city arrests people and there’s no conviction, so what?” Adjournments and postponements have pushed many trials to the Fall.
#Denver has essentially criminalized homelessness, enforcing a controversial camping ban that’s certainly in no way related to the Occupy Movement. On June 1, the day the ban took effect, Occupy Denver joined Occupy Auraria, Occupy DU and PAZ (Politically Active Ztudents) to march in solidarity with the student tuition strike in Quebec.
#The arrest of the Cleveland Five exemplifies typical FBI entrapment, Arun Gupta writes in The Guardian.
#After two NBC journalists were handcuffed and threatened by Chicago police after attempting to report on the murder of a six-year-old girl, a police officer was caught on camera telling members of the media, “Your First Amendment right can be terminated if you’re creating a scene or whatever. Your First Amendment right has got limitations.” Huh?
#After a vice-president in Citigroup’s mortgage unit discovered the bank was buying mortgages from outside lenders with doctored tax forms, phony appraisals and missing signatures, she was asked to hide the findings – and refused. She sued and won a $31 million settlement with the help of the Justice Department.
#SunTrust Bank’s mortgage unit has agreed to pay $21 million to resolve allegations that it charged more than 20,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher fees, costs and interest rates for home mortgages than non-Hispanic, white borrowers.
#Here’s the corporate cabal trying to prevent you from knowing what’s in your food.
#In an interview with Huffington Post, rapper and occupier Talib Kweli said, “You can’t just sit at your computer and be an activist. You have to get out there in the streets. You have to physically get up there and get your body on the line and put your life on the line to express your thoughts and what you believe.”
#Jeremy Scahill, investigative journalist and author of an award-winning expose of Blackwater, called Obama’s drone strikes in Yemen “murder.” Asked why he’d use such a loaded word, he explained, “It’s murder – it’s mass murder – when you say, ‘We are going to bomb this area because we believe a terrorist is there,’ and you know that women and children are in the area.”
#Members of India’s transgender and hijra community convened in New Delhi for the first Hijra Habba, where they discussed ways to ameliorate the persistent discrimination that marginalizes Indian transgenders.
#The Pentagon would like to expand the U.S. military’s might to cyberspace with Plan X, an ambitious effort to develop technologies to improve its cyberwarfare capabilities, launch effective attacks and withstand the likely retaliation. To this end, the Pentagon is turning to the private sector, universities and even computer-game companies.
#Federal agencies and local officials have recently sent powerful but conflicting messages to the American public about our right to record.
#At least one mainstream media outlet is fulfilling its duty to democracy: The Los Angeles Times has unmasked dark money donors, including the Center to Protect Patient Rights, an opaque nonprofit institution that helped steer about $55 million in conservative cash to other opaque institutions during the 2010 election cycle.
#Screw the Black Bloc – what you should really be afraid of is the Blue Bloc.
#Kanye West and Jay-Z’s new video, “No Church in the Wild,” is being described as a riot porn-y rip-off of the Occupy Movement. You decide.
#Here’s a real-time U.S. debt clock, broken down into handy categories to help you better understand the horror. If you recall, the national debt clock mounted in midtown Manhattan needs to be renovated to reflect the trillions we now owe.
#Across the country, hundreds of TV stations are circumventing ownership rules at the expense of independent local journalism. Save the News has created a nifty interactive chart to find out if newsrooms in your area are merging.
#Urban Dictionary’s word of the day for May 31 was Wall Street, and the user-generated site had some creative definitions for the HQ of the country’s 1%.
#Here are the 15 major corporate tax dodgers everyone should know.
#Shamus Cooke of Counterpunch imagines a post-Occupy social movement. Do you agree with his assessment?
#The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the AFL-CIO are organizing a march against Wal-Mart in LA on June 30.
#Occupy Arrests reports 7,263 detentions since Occupy Wall Street began.
Want to report news about your occupation or meetup? Email me at Jensacks77@gmail.com.